One year ago we all heard the announcement: Osama bin Laden is dead.
Now, there have been plenty of articles, blogs, and thoughts given to the reactions that swept across the country. Masses gathered in public places to chant “USA! USA!” while waving American flags. Others, like me, didn’t hear about the news until the next morning, and then I had some mixed reactions.
My first reaction was that of surprise: “Wait. What? Did I read that right? Wow.” From my sophomore year of high school to my first year of ordained ministry, Osama bin Laden was cast in the role of America’s bogey man. And now he’s dead. Weird.
Then I saw the clips of crowds massing in public places chanting “USA! USA!” while waving American flags. My reaction, again, was mixed. And to tell you how well the Episcopal liturgy works, my first thought was that of Good Friday. We, cast as the crowd in the service, corporately condemn and call for the death of somebody we don’t understand. “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not comparing Jesus to Osama bin Laden. Rather, I find the reaction of the crowds eerily similar.
Finally, as the months wore on, I had another mixed reaction. What has changed? Weren’t we still sending our troops and our treasure into the Afghan quagmire? And why has the rhetoric not changed? We are still talking about hunting down terrorists. Osama bin Laden’s death, while a symbolic victory for hawkish Americans, seems to have accomplished very little.
I fully realize this is a touchy issue. Again, I am not trying to offer any judgment, but rather I am opening my soul to you, the reader. Thank you for allowing me the grace and the room to express some of my reactions.